The Olympic Motto is "Citius, Altius, Fortius," a Latin phrase meaning "Swifter, Higher, Stronger." The Olympic Creed states that...
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."To me, the Olympic Games are an opportunity for nations with different races, religions and politics to join together in bonds of patriotism and sportsmanship. With all of our differences, athletics and striving to be a champion in your individual specialty is something that bridges culture gaps and unites us.
What I didn't expect to see was a complete disregard for sportsmanship and, in some cases, blatant cheating. Now, don't get me wrong, obviously the majority of the athletes played with dignity and respect for their competitors and teammates. But here are just a few of the instances that I've read about or seen in the Olympic coverage:
Sweden wrestler Ara Abrahamian left his bronze medal on the mats immediately after it was placed around his neck, protesting the officiating in his loss to Italy in the semifinals of the men's Greco-Roman wrestling event. He was subsequently stripped of the medal by the IOC.
Questions have been raised about the ages of not one, not two, but now FOUR of the 6 Chinese women gymnasts. This is due partly to the fact that they look like fetuses, but also on documents from past competitions found online.
Also, in Women's Beach Volleyball, the Chinese team was well-known for faking injuries in order to take medical time-outs when they were out of legitimate time-outs. While I know this is "legal" by game rules, it's just a bit too shady for my tastes. If you are getting your ass kicked, how about changing your strategy, not just abusing the rules to slow the game down?
This story **shocked** me. Cuban Taekwondo athlete, Angel Matos lost the bronze medal match, after he incurred an injury in the fight and took a medical time-out. The referee ruled, while he was sitting awaiting medical attention, that he had taken too long during his time out and was therefore disqualified.
Matos' reaction? Well, he briefly argued with officials and then delivered a kick to the face of one of the referees, drawing blood from the referee's mouth, then pushed a judge and spat on the arena floor. The World Taekwondo Federation have since banned Matos and his coach for life from the sport.
The kicker (no pun intended) is that during the attacks the crowd watching the event chanted "Cuba" and applauded him and his coach. Stay classy, Cuba.
Lastly, and this one really bugs me because I was a big Beach Volleyball fan this Olympics and watched almost all the matches, was Brazil's Men's Beach Volleyball team and fans. First of all, the Brazilian team were just those kind of athletes. You know, the kind that falsely accuse the other team of breaking rules, but then break the rules themselves and deny it to the end of the earth? Add to that their irritating hissy fits when something didn't go their way and delay of game penalties, and now we're talking some serious lack of sportsmanship.
But what really irritated me was the Brazilian fans in the crowd. For any of you that have never seen me at a sporting event, I am one of those fans. I'm belligerent. I scream. I call people funny and (usually) insulting names. And most of the time I'm not even drunk (yet).
But I would never do that at the Olympics! These fans were everything the Olympics are not. They even boo'd whenever the American team would serve. To me, that is so not Olympic Games behavior? Am I wrong? It just seems so against what the whole competition/event is about.
But anywho, I gotta go watch the closing ceremonies now. Hopefully all the fireworks won't be CGI this time around...
Song title: Respect by Aretha Franklin